Nermien founded Coptic Orphans in 1988 after a visit to Egypt, her childhood home. She found a country struggling with widespread poverty and decided to make a difference. She began by taking care of 45 girls in a Cairo orphanage with the help of family and friends. She worked as a volunteer for 12 years before becoming the Executive Director in 2000. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, both from Polytechnic Virginia Institute. She worked for the Federal Government for 17 years with the US Department of State and the Internal Revenue Service. In recognition of her work, Nermien was selected by the National Council of Nonprofits as a delegate for the Nonprofit Congress. She is also the recipient of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area Community Human Rights award. Nermien is married with two children who are also committed to the betterment of Egypt.
Dr. Peter Abadir is an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His area of clinical expertise is geriatric medicine.
After receiving his medical degree from the University of Al Fateh, Dr. Abadir completed his residency in family medicine at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. He performed his fellowship in geriatric medicine and gerontology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has been recognized by the Hopkins Department of Medicine with the W. Leigh Thompson Excellence in Research Award. He is a member of the American Geriatrics Society and The Gerontological Society of America.
A long-term supporter of Coptic Orphans, Dr. Abadir is passionate about his Coptic heritage and the support of our brothers and sisters in Egypt. Dr. Abadir serves at St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church in Maryland, is married and has three boys.
Mona Azer currently serves as the Director of Information Technology at Fluence Energy. In addition to leading the organization’s Information Technology operations, Mona oversees internal Cybersecurity initiatives as well as the ERP implementation for greater adoption and utilization across the various business functions. Prior to Fluence Energy, Mona served as the PMO Lead at the AES Corporation; leading IT assessments of M&A opportunities and on-going IT business processes, this was a natural transition after having worked with the AES team for four years as an independent consultant in the capacity of Program and Project Management lead for key IT Global initiatives.
Mark Nakhla a Sudanese-born Copt who holds a special place in his heart for Coptic Orphans since he was orphaned himself at the tender age of 1 year old. He gives glory to God that he was able to grow up in a loving environment that made him the successful man he is today. He graduated from the University of Khartoum’s School of Management with a Bachelor’s degree in Science. During the same time he also sat on the Board of the Khartoum University Christian Association. He worked with Citibank as a Treasury and Liability Management department head. He later moved to England where he joined Golden Eagle International when he started his relationship with Coptic Orphans as a sponsor. A few years later, he moved to Canada and started work with the Royal Bank of Canada as a Senior Account Manager. He was approached by Nermien Riad to start the Canada office in 2001 and has been a board member ever since. Mark now has his own real estate business with RE/MAX. He lives in Toronto, Canada with his wife and has two beautiful girls and two handsome boys.
Adel Boulos holds a B.Com from Concordia University. He is the CEO of Amira Enterprises, a multinational importation and wholesale distribution company. He is also the Founder and President of the Egyptian Canadian Business Network (ECBN).
Mr. Boulos is actively involved in politics and charitable organizations. He served as the President of the Conservatives Committee for the Federal Conservatives riding of Pierrefonds/Dollard -Des-Ormeaux and was a member of President El Sisi’s political campaign. Mr. Boulos was also a delegate to the Egypt Can initiative organized by HE Minister Nabila Makram. In 2021, Mr. Boulos initiated discussions with Air Canada to establish a direct travel route between Montreal and Cairo and has been influential in facilitating the repatriation of Canadian Egyptians affected by travel bans during the pandemic.
Mr. Boulos has served on the Board of Saint-Justine Hospital au Coeur du Monde, the Board of Deacons of Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church, and was the Vice-President of the Association of the Coptic Orthodox Community of Greater Montreal (ACCOM). In addition, he is a member of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Ottawa, Montreal & Eastern Canada’s Political and Public Relations committee, a member of Saint Peter and Saint Paul’s Coptic Orthodox Church Board of Deacons, and the organizational committee for the Coptic Canadian Heritage Week. Adel Boulos is married and has three children.
Ben Marcos was one of the two members who started the Coptic Orphans Australia office some twenty years ago and has watched the growth and development of the office over the years. Ben has a commercial/financial background and has extensive experience in the corporate world. He holds a Bachelor of Business from the University of Technology Sydney and is a Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA). He is also currently undertaking a Masters of International and Community Development from Deakin University in Australia. Ben has travelled and worked extensively throughout Africa and has played a major role in the programs and projects developed by the Christian organization “Friends of Africa,” an organization that serves disadvantaged youth in South Africa. Ben has also worked on the ground with Coptic Orphans. In 2005, he was a participant in Coptic Orphans’ Serve to Learn program. Ben is a soccer nut and even more so when his beloved Aussie national team is playing.
Rhonda Farag was first introduced to Coptic Orphans after attending a church presentation in Australia. Since then she has been committed to spreading the word about this organization throughout Australia. She was born and raised in Egypt and graduated from Cairo University School of Pharmacy. She moved to Australia in 1996 where she has worked as a Pharmacist. Rhonda is a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Pharmacy Board of Australia, and the Australian Association of Hospital Pharmacists. Rhonda and her husband live in Australia and have two beautiful daughters.
Basem Morris was born in Egypt and then moved to Australia at a young age. There, he grew up, graduated, and began working. He is a qualified actuary working as a consultant in the field of data analytics. Prior to this, while on a backpacking trip around the world, Basem passed by London, met his beautiful wife, and ended up staying there for the next 10 years. He worked in London as an independent consultant in investment banking specializing in credit risk management and held management positions in Deloitte London, where he played a major role in key engagements with major European and UK banks. From 2002 to 2004, he worked as an actuarial analyst at KPMG Australia, focusing on the Australian insurance market. Basem studied actuarial studies at the Macquarie University of Sydney, and, in 2007, qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries Australia. Outside of work, Basem enjoys playing, watching, and talking about football (soccer).
Mena Mikhail is a Melbourne-based businessman and Founder of HEVEN®- strategic management and M&A firm servicing growth small businesses and mid-market companies across Australia. He also oversees his own business portfolio across Early Education, Pharmacy & Retail. Mena holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy, a Diploma of Business Administration and a Diploma of Entrepreneurship & Innovation. His passion lies in the ability of businesses to drive positive change in society and be a force for good. In 2022, he received the Accelerator of the Year award from the Entrepreneurs Organisation, Melbourne chapter.
Mena has served in various roles across the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Melbourne. He has served on the Board of Deacons of his local parish, St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church, Kensington, and on the Finance Advisory Board at a Diocese Level. Mena was drawn to Coptic Orphans after hearing his father share a story about the private affection his mother, who passed away in 2015, had with the charity. This left an enduring impression.
Mena lives in Melbourne, Australia, with his wife and two young sons, and in his spare time, he loves networking and travel (50+ cities & counting).
Mariola began her career working as an M&A analyst who moved towards AML, becoming an Anti-Financial Crime Strategist and eventually the Product Manager for BAE Systems AML Compliance Software. Her second notable role was for Unilever, a multi-billion euros consumer goods company headquartered in London. During her time, she worked on developing the company’s strategic channel growth opportunities. Aside from her experience she is currently working towards her Doctorate in Criminal Justice, with focus on Trade Based Money Laundering, putting her in prime position to shape the future of the industry. Mariola is also an active member of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Professionals where she frequently presents her research findings. She is also certified in International Trade Finance by the London Institute of Banking and Finance, and in Corporate Finance by the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments.
Dr. Sherif Helmy is a medical doctor who has been practising in the UK in the National Health Service (NHS) and privately for over 23 years. He is a member of the Royal Colleges of Physicians (UK), the Royal College of General Practitioners, and was invested as a Knight of Honor in the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller in May 2022. He has been based in London for about 20 years and has held several management roles in the NHS throughout his career. He continues to serve as an NHS Medical Appraiser and has published three medical books focusing on medical practice in the UK.
Dr. Helmy is passionate about offering education to those in need and is a strong advocate for empowering young girls in Egypt through education and social support.
George was born and raised in Egypt, and moved to the UK after high school to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He had a one-year internship with General Motors, then joined ExxonMobil for 12 years where he held positions in Asset Management, Business Development, Project Management, Sales, Pricing and Data Analytics, based out of the UK and Belgium. He then pivoted to tech, and joined Amazon working on Strategy for the Grocery business.
George feels strongly connected to Egypt, and is a strong believer in the power of education. He discovered a passion for running during the pandemic and hasn’t stopped since. A friend inspired him to use this hobby towards a cause, and that’s when he worked closely with Coptic Orphans for a global fundraising campaign through the Coptic Orphans Running Club, which he founded in 2021.
George lives with his wife, Marina, in the UK, and together they enjoy travelling, good food and quality time with family and friends!
Global Advisory Council
Fr. Andrew Alexander
Prior to being called to the priesthood in January 2022, Fr. Andrew served on the Coptic Orphans Board of Directors in the UK, U.S and Australia from 2011-2022.
Before his ordination, Fr. Andrew was an independent consultant who provided strategic project, programme, and stakeholder management services for investment banking and corporate clients within the Asia/Australia region, with a principal focus on high-risk mission critical engineering and technology capital projects.
Prior to this, Fr. Andrew lived in London for nine years where he had similar roles as an executive director at Goldman Sachs International &, JPMorgan Chase. Fr. Andrew graduated with a double degree in electrical engineering and medical biophysics. He worked as an electrical design engineer before venturing off to London in 2004. Fr. Andrew now resides in Melbourne, and is a priest at St. John and St. Verena Coptic Orthodox Church.
Raouf Youssef is currently Managing Partner of Global Development Associates, LLC, a U.S.-based consultancy that focuses on international development and foreign affairs. He is a USAID veteran of 34 years having served in 5 overseas missions and several regional missions. While at USAID, Mr. Youssef managed the power and telecommunications portfolio ($1.6B) in Egypt and led the effort to privatize the telecommunications sector in Egypt as well as commercializing the power sector. He served as Mission Director for USAID/Lebanon from 2002 to 2008. Mr. Youssef retired from the USAID as Senior Development Counselor for Regional Donor coordination in early 2010. He was also called to serve on the CENTCOM joint strategic assessment team for the Middle East, covering Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, West Bank/Gaza, and Jordan in 2008/9.